DOOM 64 (PC) Review

By Athanasios 19.03.2020 3

Review for DOOM 64 on PC

So far, the only way one could enjoy Doom 64 was to buy a copy for the Nintendo 64, with the alternative solution being the unofficial PC port. The current publisher of all things Doom, Bethesda, recently sought to offer a steady diet of the series, with the more recent examples being the Switch ports of Doom, Doom II, and Doom 3. The good news? This port is probably the best version of the N64 classic yet. The not so good news? Well, this wasn't really such a big classic to begin with...

Recently this reviewer got to try out id Software's DOOM Eternal, which was... kinda good. The publisher provided Cubed3 with the Deluxe Edition, which came bundled with DOOM 64. Very kind of the team to do so, but sadly this isn't a very good Doom game. Or is it? A past retrospective look look on Doom 64 was far from positive - yet things were much better this time. Yours truly even had… fun(!) playing this new PC port.

What has changed? Well, in all honesty, this still remains a mediocre Doom experience. Sure, it's like the original, but it also throws a much, much bigger emphasis in switch/key-searching, something that got too boring too soon, especially due to the, generally uninspiring, level design. In terms of audio-visuals, like many N64 titles, it was an ugly-to-dull blend of flawless 3D surfaces and pixelated sprites, with little thematic variety, which was also annoyingly dark. Finally, the music was an assortment of ambient tunes that lacked the magic of the original's iconic OST. No complaint about the SFX, though - that chaingun kicked ass!

Moreover, apart from a couple of tricky parts (aka: unavoidable traps), it was also a relatively easy affair that rarely challenged seasoned FPS players. Plus, plenty of baddies weren't even included due to memory constraints, which means no Archvile, Revenant, and so on. Even worse? It also felt slow as hell - pun intended, especially when it came to swapping weapons. Of course, there are - many - people who love this out there. Are they wrong for doing so? Not really. DOOM 64 belongs in the world of cult classics, so it's a love or hate kind of deal.

Screenshot for DOOM 64 on PC

Do you, fellow reader, dislike the aforementioned ambient "music," where every tune is like listening to distant machinery and/or moaning animals? Well, there are thousands who actually love the moody, almost horror-esque vibe this gives to it all. This is basically a game with the atmosphere of Doom 3, and a little bit of the gameplay of 1993's Doom - but still, what has changed for this critic? Well, while it might seem silly, this feels much better with mouse and keyboard. Yes, it's a personal preference, but one to consider if willing to try out the Switch version instead of this one.

Secondly, this is not as dark as it used to, even if the improvement is hard to notice. Oh, and, as expected, this new version is rendered in FHD. The most important change, which, again, is a very personal thing, is that the one writing this always got some sort of… "video game nausea" whenever he played the old, original release. Was it because of the colours used, or the darkness and low frame rate? Unknown. It just doesn't happen now, and as such is far more enjoyable for this Doom nerd than it used to.

Unfortunately, it's still hard to recommend Doom 64, with the main reason being its overall structure, as the vast majority of levels revolve around going back and forth between the same areas, activating switches, and finding keys, with not much killing to do while at it. Old-school Doom was always about the level design, and this simply doesn't cut it in comparison. Buy only if cheap, or a fun of the original. Better yet? Buy DOOM Eternal's Deluxe Edition.

Screenshot for DOOM 64 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

DOOM 64 is considered a cult classic, meaning that the people who love it, really love it. The one writing this doesn't though. It is way too slow, tries to have a horror atmosphere (and almost succeeds), although it is in no way a horror game, and, most importantly, the level design is mediocre at best, as it's more about flipping switches than killing demons. Those who loved the original will be glad to know that this is a very good port, with FHD resolution and an improved frame-rate - just don't expect anything substantially new bar some new levels.

Developer

Night Dive Studios

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I tried this one on Switch today... well, let's just say I'm not a massive fan Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

What was it that you didn't like?

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

I think I need to approach it again with a different mindset. As mentioned in the Eternal thread, the only previous Doom I've played is the SNES one... but that was sooooo many years ago, and I've played numerous FPS' since then, so I think the lack of being able to look around was a bit of a shock to the system. Also, the visuals look ropier than I'd thought. Again, probably viewing N64 games in my mind with rose-tinted spectacles.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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